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Coghlan Castle

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1902–1904, Maurice and John Coghlan; Thomas Bowyer, mason. East side of 48th Ave. NE, 1.5 miles south of ND 42, southeast of St. John
  • (Courtesy of Susan Quinnell, Preservation North Dakota)

In 1902, seven years after the death of his wife, Nellie, Maurice Coghlan hired Thomas Bowyer, a Manitoba, Canada, stonemason, to build a large fanciful house for his five sons on the family’s one-hundred-and-sixty-acre homestead. The fieldstone two-story house and its attached round tower is an impressive demonstration of stone masonry and hand craftsmanship. Bowyer gathered the large fieldstones, known as “glacial erratics,” to build the house. Bowyer’s grandfather Samuel and his sons were a family of three generations of stonemasons who emigrated from Scotland and worked extensively along the Manitoba and North Dakota border constructing mostly barns and other farm buildings. Several comparable granite boulder stone houses have been identified just across the border in Manitoba. Interior work on Coghlan Castle was impressively crafted by Maurice’s brother John, who was a master carpenter for the Pullman Railroad Car Company. The house was further adorned with stained glass windows and decorative plasterwork. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, the house has been the subject of restoration field schools conducted by Preservation North Dakota.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay



Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "Coghlan Castle", [Saint John, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 118-118.

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